How did you end up working in property? Gaining a degree in Business Information Studies at university in Leeds didn't immediately suggest a career in property, but I had been fascinated by the sector since an early age as my father, Chris, worked in construction. So instead of working as a systems analyst in some hi-tech company, I joined Foxtons in Hampstead, London in 2005. It was the right move for me – I loved the people and the work. I moved back home to Yorkshire in 2010 to work as an estate agent joined Knight Frank in 2016 as a partner and head of office.
How is the housing market faring in your area? It's tough but it's holding up. There's no doubt that sensibly-priced houses in decent locations will always sell. It is absolutely crucial to manage clients' expectations, but
during the past few months we have achieved some fantastic results. North Yorkshire is still seen as a desirable area and there is a definite trend of families relocating here from London and the South as they can get so much more for their money whilst still being able to easily commute back to the capital for work during the week.
Are there any up-and-coming places? The area around Starbeck Station between Harrogate and Knaresborough is becoming a popular location. The properties there are competitively priced in an excellent position, close to the popular York-Leeds rail line. The immediate area has undergone a renaissance with the conversion of the old Henry Peacock pub into a smart and successful mix of flats and retail outlets. We have just sold a property there, which is now being redeveloped into two apartments. Significantly, it attracted a good deal of interest from investors.
If you were the Housing Minister, what would you do and why? First of all, I would have a long, hard look at Stamp Duty. I don't think the government's reforms are having the desired effect. Secondly, and rather crucially, I would do everything I could to build new homes, including affordable homes. Lack of supply is fuelling the over-inflated housing market. Finally, I would reconsider plans to levy increased taxes on second homes. Like stamp duty, that is not going to solve the root problems of the housing market.
What are the best and worst things about working in property? The best thing is the variety of our work. No two days are ever the same. We meet a wide variety of people in very different properties. What we do matters, on an emotional as well as a practical level. The worst thing is that there is no protection for a buyer or a seller and sales can break down at the very last moment. Delivering the bad news can be very traumatic.